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Marden Henge (and Hatfield Barrow)



Digital Digging - Marden Henge

The Marvellous Marden Henge – talk given by Jim Leary, 5th February 2011. Jim Leary talk was on the excavation which took place at Marden Henge in the summer of 2010.

Situated approximately half-way between Avebury and Stonehenge, near the head of the River Avon, it is the least known henge; there is no stone circle.

First recorded 1806 in Gough's edition of Camden's Britannia. Excavated by Richard Colt Hoare, William Cunnington and Philip Crocker in 1809.
In 1809 a shaft was sunk to the bottom of Hatfield Barrow (thought to be approximately nine metres high). The barrow, being constructed of greensand, became unstable and collapsed in on itself. Findings were published in Colt Hoare's Ancient Britain; around 1818 the mound was levelled by the farmer.

Geoffrey Wainwright did some work in 1969 and conclusively showed it was late Neolithic – the southern barrow remains, though hidden from view. The southern bank of the henge is open and faces out towards the river Avon; a geophys survey also showed there was a south-east entrance.

The most important finding of the 2010 excavation was patch of chalk on the southern bank which was almost certainly the floor of a Neolithic building; part of a hearth is visible and although excavation was not fully completed, it is thought to be the best preserved Neolithic building in England – superior even to Durrington Walls. There is a nearby midden (rubbish dump) where pig bones and highly decorated Neolithic pottery were found. Also found were two beautifully preserved flint arrowheads and two bone pins.

Jim Leary would very much like to continue the work – and we can only hope that in today's uncertain financial climate it will be possible.
tjj Posted by tjj
5th February 2011ce
Edited 9th February 2011ce

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